To an outsider, the education sector must seem bogged down by accountabilities. If you follow any of the debates on funding or schooling in general, it always seems to revolve around accountabilities.
We know schools are accountable to governments, the Board of Studies and parents but this view has really grown out of the 19th century model of schooling. Richard Elmore believes that if the key decision-makers are not teachers then the profession will always been in a ‘politically subservient position’.
I believe that accountability is far too often about blame rather than responsibility. Schools have a responsibility to ensure the learning outcomes for all students improve – this is what parents/community entrust teachers to do. The future of societies depend on it.
Far too often, we have outsiders, often ill-informed, prescribing what needs to occur within the learning space, and even worse, developing accountabilities, which are often linked to funding arrangements. Simplicity usually wins out on engagement around theory and practice in such approaches.
If we demand that schools become relevant in a knowledge age, then we need to refrain from imposing ‘accountabilities’. Rather, schools need robust frameworks from which good decisions about learning and teaching are made.
Helen Timperley and co. from the University of Auckland states that when these so-called outsiders develop ‘recipes for teaching’ these processes have little impact on student outcomes and cannot be sustained long -term. So, how do we wrest back some professional ownership of this critical and substantive agenda?